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 warmer sound?
Author: D. B. Stones 
Date:   2010-10-16 09:49

Hey all,

I play on a 1977 R-13 with a Greg Smith 1* and V-12 #4 reeds. My horn is awesome, but a bit too bright for my taste. I recently have tried some Selmer clarinets (series 9, 10, and Signature) that gave me a much warmer sound. Are there any mouthpieces or barrels that I should try before investing in a new clarinet? Thanks for your advice!

-D. B.

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2010-10-16 10:52


Before you start spending dollars on equipment you should really consider how your blowing down the instrument and how your "tight" your embouchure might be.

I would suggest breathing deeper and blowing down the instrument as if your trying to blow the air out of the sides. Think of the opposition in the abdomen, diaphragm pushing down in opposition to the air which is going up. Try and imagine your air coming out the top of your head while playing.

I know many players that can make the R-13 play with a warm sound.

Hope that helps.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: William 
Date:   2010-10-16 14:59

Your sound may be "bright" to you--because of closeness and bone transfer of sound via your teeth to your inner ear--however, to your audience the sound may be quite acceptable, even "warm". This was first told to me by Wendy Kemp, who after college went to Chicago and became a regular sub player with the CSO. And just a couple of years ago, I subbed with an orchestra whose principal players sound (right next to me) was quite "bright"--almost brittle. But later, as I was not included in the second half of the program, on hearing his sound from the back rows of the auditorium, his sound was very warm and resonant. After the concert, I found out he was playing a Kaspar mouthpiece, same as the one the Wendy K played with the CSO--under her married name, Wendy Brannen. Regardless of what mouthpiece you are using, you really do not hear how you sound to your audience.

So, here is what I suggest, before you buy an expensive clarinet that seems "warmer" to you, have someone record your sound from afar and listen to how you really sound. You may be pleasantly surprised........simple as that. Also think about the voicing advice from Peter--that may help big time.

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: pelo_ensortijado 
Date:   2010-10-16 23:02

its NOT the clarinet! dont change until someone else tell you to.

the thing with new instruments is that your ears are not used to the sound so they dont filter as much as they do normaly(you know, like if you are having a nice meal at mcdonalds and there is a birthday party a couple of tables away, and after a while you just dont notice them any more even though their screaming didnt get any less loud)

well, i have a good excersise to work on the sound.

1 take of the mpc and barrel from the clarinet,
2 blow in the mpc as normal
3 try to change the tone, pitch, timbre, angle and such
4 put it back on the clarinet and play some with the new sound you got when doing the above. if its still bad do it again. (for me the big improvement was to try to aim the note a bit lower, from the F# i got from blowing straight out to a more F like note - still a bit high but more F than F#.)

its a really good excersise, to help finding the sound, for intonation, and for blending with others.

good luck

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-10-17 15:46


pelo_ensortijado wrote:

> like if you are having a nice meal at mcdonalds

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: pelo_ensortijado 
Date:   2010-10-17 16:16

Got me!! There is no such thing as a good meal at mcdonalds. But beside that. :P

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: sonicbang 
Date:   2010-10-17 17:02

I think your equipment is just fine. Maybe you should try a mouthpiece with lower baffle. The cheapest way (if nobody has this kind of thing around to try it) is to buy a good blank or used mouthpiece and send it to a refacer who can tuning it up according to your wishes. This kind of mouthpieces tend to have warmer sound, but someone would say they have not enough focus.

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2010-10-17 21:35

I don't understand how anyone can say that they are sure it's not the instrument when they haven't tried it. Many changes could have occurred in the bore of your R13 in the last 33 years. A bore replacement is possible in warped areas, if that's the problem.

I'd say try some new clarinets. If it sounds better and you've got the money, buy it. If it doesn't sound better, then you know the problem is somewhere else, and you can try some of the useful suggestions above. It doesn't cost you anything to try some new clarinets. And there's nothing holy about a 1977 R13.

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: sonicbang 
Date:   2010-10-17 23:21

I have played on several vintage instrument, mainly on Buffets. I can tell you none of them had brighter sound because of their age. The instrument's sound depends on the player's sound. It happened I got an old BC20 A clarinet and it had a dark and covered sound. After three months of practising it started sounding like me.

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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: claritoot26 
Date:   2010-10-18 00:50

I second Liquorice's comments. Try the new clarinets withyour mouthpiece, etc. and see if they sound better. If you don't want to spend on a new clarinet right now, sometimes a good way to upgrade the sound of an older instrument is with a new barrel or bell. But by all means, try before you buy, cuz they are pricy.


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 Re: warmer sound?
Author: Sally 
Date:   2010-10-18 14:03

I would agree that a lot is down to the clarinet, but it is definitely possible to learn to adapt the instrument you have to sound like you want it to.

My example - I recently performed in an actor-musician musical (which involved me playing onstage whilst part of the show, dancing, singing, playing etc all at the same time!), and because of the inevitable risk to my vintage R13 I could not play it. Horror of horrors, I had to play on a plastic Yamaha!!!!

To start with I hated the bright sound and it sounded nothing like me playing. Also played really sharp. However, using my nice m/p and ligature (which were worth more than the rest of the clarinet!) I eventually learnt how to change my embouchure so that I was both in tune and had a much more pleasant tone.

Then, 3 months on when the show was over, I had to learn to play my R13 all over again!

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